Which commands the sun, and it rises not; and seals up the stars.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And sealeth up the stars—Comp. Job 41:15. The idea of shutting up, taking away the power of, &c., is contained in the expression “sealing.”Job 9:7. Who commandeth the sun, and it riseth not — Nor are the heavens less subject to his power; for neither sun nor stars can shine if he forbid them. “Bishop Warburton supposes, that this alludes to the miraculous history of the people of God, such as the Egyptian darkness, and the stopping the sun’s course by Joshua. But surely there is no necessity, from the words themselves, to suppose any allusion of this kind, or, indeed, any thing miraculous, since God, by throwing a thick cloud over the sun and stars, can and does obscure them when he pleases.” — Dodd. And things in the Scriptures are often said to be or not to be, when they appear or disappear; of which some instances have been given in the former part of this work, and we shall have more hereafter in their proper places. Thus it is that the Chaldee Paraphrast understands the passage. And sealeth up the stars — That is, covereth and shutteth them up, that they may not shine, as in dark and dismal tempests, like that mentioned Acts 27:20, when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days.
Or loose the bands of Orion?
Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season,
Or lead forth the Bear with her young?
Knowest thou the laws of the heavens,
Or hast thou appointed their dominion over the earth?
Job 9:7Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not - Schultens supposes that all this is a description of the deluge - when the mountains were removed, when the fountains of the deep were broken up, and when the sun was obscured and seemed not to rise. Others have supposed that it refers to the fact that the sun is darkened by clouds and tempests, and appears not to rise and shine upon the earth. Others suppose that the allusion is to an eclipse; and others, that it is to the power of God, and means that the rising of the sun depends on him, and that if he should choose to give the command, the heavenly bodies would rise and give light no more. It seems probable that the meaning is, that God has power to do this; that the rising of the sun depends on him; and that he could delay it, or prevent it, at his pleasure. His power over the sun was shown in the time of Joshua, when, at his command, it stood still; but it is not necessary to suppose that there is any reference to this fact here. The whole meaning of the language is met by the supposition that it refers to the power of God, and affirms what he could do, or if it refer to any fact that had been observed, that the allusion is to the darkening of the sun by an eclipse or a tempest. No argument can be derived, therefore, from the expression, in regard to the age of the book.
And sealeth up the stars - The word "seal" in the Scriptures (חתם châtham) is used with considerable latitude of signification. It is employed in the sense of shutting, closing, making fast - as when anything was sealed, it was shut up or made fast. The Hebrews often used a seal, where we would use a lock, and depended on the protection derived from the belief that one would not break open that which was sealed, where we are obliged to rely on the security of the lock against force. If there were honor and honesty among people everywhere, a seal would be as secure as a lock - as in a virtuous community a sealed letter is as secure as a merchant's iron "safe." To "seal up the stars," means so to shut them up in the heavens, as to prevent their shining; to hide them from the view. They are concealed, hidden, made close - as the contents of a letter, a package, or a room are by a seal, indicating that no one is to examine them, and concealing them from the view. So God hides from our view the stars by the interposition of clouds.
sealeth up the stars—that is, totally covers as one would seal up a room, that its contents may not be seen.
1. Of that which God can do; or rather, (as he doth in the foregoing and following instances,)
2. Of what God actually doth; and that either,
1. Ordinarily; and so he gives laws to the sun that it shall not rise, but at such times, and to such places, and in such manner as he hath appointed; as that it shall rise constantly at its set time, and never disorderly; that it shall not rise for divers months together in some parts of the world, &c. Or rather,
2. Extraordinarily; (for of such works of God he discourseth in this place;) and so it may note either some stop given to the sun for a small season, like that in Joshua’s time; which might have been, though it be not recorded; or some extraordinary tempest or dark season, wherein the morning is made darkness, as the phrase is, Amos 4:13; compare Amos 5:8; wherein the sun doth not at all appear, (as it was for many days together, Acts 27:20) and consequently is to those places and persons as if he were not risen. For things in Scripture are oft said to be, or not to be, when they appear or disappear; of which some instances have been formerly given, and more we shall have hereafter, in their proper places. Sealeth up the stars, i.e. as it were, covereth and shutteth them up that they may not shine, as in dark and dismal tempests, like that now mentioned, Acts 27:20, when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days. Joshua 10:13, and caused the shadow to return ten degrees it had gone back in the dial of Ahaz, in the times of Hezekiah, 2 Kings 20:11; or else the sense is, it rises not at any other time and place but when and where he commands it; or he commands it not to rise in the same place at one time of the year as at another, and it rises not; or this may be understood of eclipses, or of its being covered with clouds in tempestuous weather for a considerable time together, when it seems as if it was not risen: some think this respects the three days' darkness in Egypt, when the Israelites were there, Exodus 10:22, which was a little before, or about the time of Job; or rather it refers to the general flood, in the times of Noah, when it rained forty days and forty nights, Genesis 7:12, during which time the sun appeared not, and so seemed as if it was not risen; see Amos 8:9; Herodotus (b) relates, from the memoirs of the Egyptians, that the sun rose four times out of its usual course; twice it rose where it now sets, and twice it set where it now rises:
and sealeth up the stars: either by the light of the sun in the daytime, which hides them that they are not visible, or by dark clouds and tempestuous weather in the night; such a season as that was in which the Apostle Paul and the mariners with him were, when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, Acts 27:20, and so the Targum paraphrases it, and"sealeth up the stars with clouds;''this may also refer to the time of the flood, during the rain of forty days and nights, Genesis 7:4; or to the annual motion of the sun through the ecliptic, which makes the point of the sun's rising and setting vary, and is the reason why some stars appear in summer and are sealed up in winter, and others that are seen in winter are not visible in summer; and so Cocceius interprets it.Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. The reference may be to days when from storm and darkness the sun seems not to rise, or to eclipses and sudden obscurations of the heavenly bodies.Verse 7. - Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not. A magnificent idea of God's power, and, of course, quite true. All the movements of the earth and of the heavenly bodies are movements which God causes, and could at any moment suspend. The sun only rises upon the earth each day because God causes it to rise. If he were once to intermit his hand, the whole universe would fall into confusion. And sealeth up the stars. Either covers them with a thick darkness, which their rays cannot penetrate, or otherwise renders them invisible. The idea is that God, if he pleases, can remove the stars out of man's sight, hide them away, seal them up.
2 Yea, indeed, I know it is thus,
And how should a man be just with God!
3 Should he wish to contend with God,
He could not answer Him one of a thousand.
4 The wise in heart and mighty in strength,
Who hath defied Him and remained unhurt?
Job does not (Job 9:1) refer to what Eliphaz said (Job 4:17), which is similar, though still not exactly the same; but "indeed I know it is so" must be supposed to be an assert to that which Bildad had said immediately before. The chief thought of Bildad's speech was, that God does not pervert what is right. Certainly (אמנם, scilicet, nimirum, like Job 12:2), - says Job, as he ironically confirms this maxim of Bildad's, - it is so: what God does is always right, because God does it; how could man maintain that he is in the right in opposition to God! If God should be willing to enter into controversy with man, he would not be able to give Him information on one of a thousand subjects that might be brought into discussion; he would be so confounded, so disarmed, by reason of the infinite distance of the feeble creature from his Creator. The attributes (Job 9:4) belong not to man (Olshausen), but to God, as Job 36:5. God is wise of heart (לב equals νοῦς) in putting one question after another, and mighty in strength in bringing to nought every attempt man may make to maintain his own right; to defy Him (הקשׁה, to harden, i.e., ערף, the neck), therefore, always tends to the discomfiture of him who dares to bid Him defiance.
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